Responses by David Navarro, executive creative director, and Aaron Poe, creative director, Ueno
Background: Dorsia exists as a lifestyle brand for people who love traveling and hate lifestyle brands. The target audiences are users who believe tourism is a trap. Dorsia gives users the inside scoop on the world’s trend-able places, championing the worthy and under-the-radar, ignoring the obvious and overplayed.
The role of any good marketing site is to create awareness and encourage users to check out the mobile app. Fortunately, the website is also the product. So, users were able to start on the desktop to see which cities they serviced and how many new spots they curated by using fancy algorithms that identify local trendsetters and global hobos. We tracked down the places where everybody wants to be before everybody wants to be there.
Highlights: Dorsia shows up in a refreshingly unexpected way, which is pretty much the exact opposite of other products in the category. It is for this reason that it stands out amongst the sea of sameness—from the immersive listings of things to do and places to see, to the interactive map, to the warm and quirky illustration style. The design elements work together with an interesting point of view on the world. Also, Dorsia’s tone of voice is quick, sharp and cheeky, yet approachable.
Challenges: Building a two-direction narrative from editorial content to the product (map) and vice-versa. Dorsia’s user base is diverse, and the context of use varies depending on motivation, location or the device used. We had to build a strong, layered structure for cities, neighborhoods, lists of places and their categories, paired with appealing editorial content and surfacing what’s relevant for any case. This required a deep information architecture exercise when crafting the user flow.
Favorite details: The interactive map enabling users to discover places close to their location; powerful search and filtering to quickly find anything from restaurants to museums; pre-made itineraries and guides to suit every taste and interest (currently sixteen cities and growing); the ability to save spots to visit later or mark your favorites; neighborhood guides to help users understand what makes each one unique; and trends and inspiration through an editorial blog, The Corner.